It does not take a fancy hotel name or reputation to impress me. Nice linens, a decent breakfast and cleanliness are my major interests and we had all three at the Super 8 (the price was right too). The clincher was the sunrise they arranged for us. It brought the saying “red sky at morning, sailors take warning…” to mind so we left fairly early. Well fed and rested, we arrived at the coffee house, the site of our Thanksgiving, by noon.
We call it the coffee house because it was one, briefly. Had it been in a better location, and maybe a better time, it would have been a success. My brother still owns it, partly because he lives in the second story, and partly because it hasn’t sold. It is perfect for family gatherings. Perfect in the sense that the whole lower story is made for people having a good time – plenty of seating at tables, a long bar where we line up the Thanksgiving buffet, an industrial kitchen where we cook last day dishes, a cozy (fake) fireplace, and a TV mounted in a corner tuned to the local football station.
Of course, we were half a day early so we unloaded our food dishes into the fridge at the coffee house and went to settle in our lodgings. Here I must mention my niece and her family. They are house flippers, among other things. Conveniently, they had a house they were staging for sale even as we arrived and we got to “test” it out. Seriously, they are like Chip and Joanna, or Tarrek and Christina – they could have a TV show except for the financial backing part. This was the second lovely house of theirs that I had seen and we gladly moved into the three bedrooms ready for us. It was quite brave of my brother to offer to house all of us this year and we were grateful.
The other afternoon event was waiting for everyone else to arrive. I have two daughters and they were coming from opposite ends of the U.S., one from Jacksonville, Fl flying into Detroit, and one from Seattle flying to Flint with one of her good friends. My nephew, who had arrived earlier from California, drove to Detroit for that pick-up and the others rented a car from Flint. They trickled in, one group at a time, along with another one of my brothers (I have four) and his wife. By the afternoon, the promised storm had begun, the roads were slippery and we got word that a couple of our invited guests had felt it safer to cancel their trip. Our Thanksgiving group was in place except for a local couple who would join us the next day.
Our eclectic group, aged from 2 to 84, seven boys/men and six women, Midwesterners, West coasters, East coasters, two different cultural backgrounds, meat eaters and vegetarians, all gathered to be thankful, make memories and eat. Having all arrived safely, we were already thankful. The eating started that night with soups by Jamie, my niece, and salad. But, of course, the real eating event was yet to come…